For close to a year now, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Facebook. My Newsfeed had begun to feel like a collection of stuff I didn’t like posted by people about whom I didn’t particularly give a damn. I’d also become wary of the company’s algorithms and practices that limited the exposure of small businesses unwilling or unable to pay for premium ad placement.
Facebook had become a drain on my day. Like many people, I ended up down the rabbit-hole more often than not. I ended up looking at pictures of boating lessons, and I wasn’t thrilled. I wanted to do more with my life, but I was constantly stuck in the time suck that was my Newsfeed.
So I quit. Kind of. I didn’t exactly delete my account; I just stopped posting. I un-linked my Twitter account (which I should have done long ago) and deleted the app from my phone. I stopped going to the website. My wife kept up with our family and mutual friends, so I didn’t miss anything super-important. Oh, and I kept Messenger. I had to. Everyone uses Facebook, so it’s the easiest way to keep in touch.
Therein lies the issue. Too few people use Google+. Most of my less-than-tech-savvy friends don’t “get” Twitter. But EVERYONE over the age of 13 uses Facebook. Trying to keep in touch with people who are completely invested in one network when you’re not is difficult if not near-impossible. I had a fundamental problem with Facebook, but it’s not like I could invest my intellectual capital elsewhere. No one was paying as well on the returns.
So I’m going back, but with some changes in my approach. De-friending is no longer limited to exes and evil stepmothers. It’s time to be ruthless. One too many surveys or links to Buzzfeed lists and you’re out of here (honestly, one is too many). I’ll be trying to strike a balance between engaging and oversharing. No one cares what I had for lunch, but it’s still important to be involved (and not simply a lurker). No more haphazard “Likes”. No more cross-posting every Spotify song and Pinterest pin. Most importantly, I’ll be trying to avoid being a hypocrite.
This is my version of a social experiment.